I find it harder to write about bands I actually like. There’s not much punch to having a laugh about essentially saying “I like this band, go listen to them”.
But this is what we’re doing, so away we go. It’s very rare I get all excited and preach gospel when I find new music, so buckle up, bitches. We’re going in hard.
Dorje is a new instalment into my musical vocabulary, thanks to the involvement of Rob Chapman, who I recently encountered during a YouTube binge:
One video led to another video and so on until my binging led to me finding out he’s like, in a band, you guys! And his band is another band as well!
That band is Dorje, a grungey metal band out of the UK. And they kick ass.
That band, minus Rob, is Toska and they’re also out of the UK, funnily enough. They also kick ass
Formerly “The Rob Chapman Band”, Chapman and Rabea Massaad make up the guitars and vocals of Dorje, flanked by Dave Hollingworth and Ben Minal on bass and drums, respectively. They’re currently working on an album and have two EP’s out: “Catalyst” and “Centred and One”. It feels like there’s NO pretensions with these guys. They all seem like people you’d happily meet at the pub and have a few drinks with.
Toska is Dorje minus Chapman, they currently have one EP out, titled “Ode to the Author”.
Both are Metal, if you want to be vague.
In reality and/or if you want to impress your music snob mates, Dorje are weird mix of grungey, garagey, proggy metal that fits really, really well together. Think Incubus if they had dirty, drunken sex involving butt-stuff with Black Label Society.
Yeah, you’re totally thinking about Brandon Boyd and Zakk Wylde boning now. You’re welcome.
Toska takes the prog/djenty side of things and cranks it up a notch. A lot of it has this Behold! The Arctopus/Karnivool sorta feel to it. I dig. Rabea wears his influences on his sleeve here but it doesn’t feel at all derivative. It’s almost chillout metal, even. Unless you really, really hated this sort of music you could chuck it on and it’d just sit in the background being all like “S’up? I’m just going to blow your fucking head off for the next half hour”.
It’s hard to get into specifics when again, I could just go “it all sounds amazing! Why are you still reading?!”
From opening to close, Catalyst overperforms in an area where there’s plenty of performers. It all comes together in an amazing, noisy blitzkrieg. The only thing I can really fault is that it’s all over far too quickly. All the songs sound unique to eachother without being too jarring and each one is peppered with little motifs here and here that you’ll discover with subsequent listens. There are some weaksauce songs here, but even then they seem to be growers.
Standout Tracks: Aeromancy is fucking amazing. White Dove has this rad old-school metal sound to it. So much so I thought they covered a Motley Crue song to begin with.
CENTRED AND ONE
Centred and One basically takes everything about Catalyst which was great and makes them greater. There’s some weaksauce aspects but it feels like they’ve found their place more here. It kinda has a Tool vibe to it, the title song especially.
Standout Tracks: Centred and One, Flower of Life. Honestly I just like hearing Rob scream his head off. If I could be bothered setting my alarm as the “Take life/To bring new life” bit from “Flower” as my alarm I fucking would.
Honourable mention: Zero. Rob, we gotta talk here, man… Who upset you? Do you need a hug? A coffee? Jesus fucking Christ. This song isn’t even sad or angry, it makes it’s own category. I dub it: Sangry. Or Sadangry. Or…Angrysad. Regardless, it’s pretty good.
ODE TO THE AUTHOR
The one thing that struck me with “Ode” is that it’s completely instrumental. Be it from Toska not finding an appropriate singer, or simply just wanting to be an instrumental band. The absense of vocals isn’t missed, either. The songs work without them just fine. The EP occasionally (and perhaps understandably) delves into Dorje territory, but the difference in sound, tone, and structure is pretty big. You’re not going to pop on a Toska song and mistake it for Dorje, for example.
Standout tracks: Chalk Teeth, Infantile, Chasm. The latter especially is amazing towards the end.
Listen to ’em. They’re good. No jokes or shenanigans here. I mean the Toska EP’s even free if you don’t feel like spending money. So what are you waiting for?
I really do hope things progress and these guys get some fucking recognition, a few albums under their belt and whatnot. They’re too good not to.